Right about now, gardens across the country are brimming with fresh, juicy tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and colors. Whether it’s a flavorful yellow heirloom or ripe red Jersey beefsteak, you can’t go wrong this time of year (especially at your local farmer’s market or even your own garden). Check out three innovative and delicious ideas that put the spotlight on the luscious garden fruit.
The most important tool you can have when dealing with tomatoes is the proper knife. A short, serrated knife is the key to cutting through it with ease (otherwise you’ll just end up sawing on the skin and ultimately squishing the tomato).
BLT CHERRY TOMATOES
Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the tomato and hollow out center with a demi spoon or melon baller. Layer the following inside the tomato: roasted garlic cracked pepper mayo, julienned lettuce of your choice and finely diced bacon. Top with a sprinkle of coarsely chopped sourdough croutons.
PLUM TOMATO COBBLER
Sauté minced shallots and small diced fennel in olive oil, mix in 1” diced tomatoes, a splash of sherry vinegar, savory herbs (such as sage, rosemary or thyme) and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir until tomatoes are heated and just start to cook. Remove from heat and spoon mixture into a casserole dish or individual ramekins. Sprinkle with crumbled goat, feta or shredded Parmesan cheese and top with crumbled cornbread. Bake 15-20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO PASTA
Boil a short pasta until al dente. As the pasta is draining, add wedged or chunked tomatoes of varying colors so they lightly weep from the heat of the steam. Dress with fruity olive oil, a hint of lemon zest, torn basil leaves, arugula, and salt and pepper to taste. You can add chicken or shrimp to the pasta to make it a complete entree.